The teacher shortage varies depending on location across the United States. In some areas, the need is more severe than in others. For example, in Mesa, Ariz., Westwood High School is short on math teachers. The school has three unfilled positions in that subject. The principal, Christopher Gilmore, has never started the year there with so many math positions open.
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“It’s a little bit unnerving,” he said, “going into a school year knowing we don’t have a full staff.”
The teacher shortage is not as severe in other parts of the country. In Boston, for example, all teachers are licensed, and there are no shortages of any particular subject.
“We’re in a good place right now,” said Kathy Mears, the chief of human capital for the Boston Public Schools. “All of our teachers are highly qualified.”
The teacher shortage results from many factors, including low pay, challenging working conditions, and a lack of support from administrators and policymakers. Many teachers leave the profession after just a few years.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average teacher salary in the United States was $58,353 in 2015-2016. That’s about $10,000 less than the average salary for all workers. And it’s not enough to live on in many parts of the country.
In addition to low pay, teachers often have to work long hours and deal with challenging working conditions. They are expected to teach larger classes, use outdated textbooks, and deal with students who have behavioural problems.
Many teachers feel that they do not have the support of administrators or policymakers. They think their profession is not respected and are not given the resources they need to succeed.
The teacher shortage is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Low pay, challenging working conditions, and a lack of support from administrators and policymakers are driving many teachers out of the profession. If the teacher shortage is not addressed, it will hurt students, schools, and communities.
What do you think should be done to address the teacher shortage? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Do you live in an area with a severe teacher shortage? If so, how has it affected your community?
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